It’s Monday Mitzvah! If you’re not hip to Jewish ethnospirituality, feel free to pass.
Today: Don’t oppress anyone with words.
Like many of the mannerly mitzvot, this one seems easy — until you begin to ponder the meaning of “oppress.” Obviously, trash talk and insensitivity are out — but what about asking the price of something you’re not interested in buying? Trotting out that cute but embarrassing childhood story? Being rude to the help because you’ve had a bad day? Torah posits that the Universe was created through speech; is it any wonder that it also considers shaming akin to murder?
Exercise: Listen to yourself through the other person’s ears.